Using a Citizen Science Approach in Higher Education: a Case Study reporting Roadkills in Austria

Florian Heigl, Johann G. Zaller


Many European universities are faced with the trend towards increasing student numbers along with steady numbers of lecturers and professors. Especially courses in natural sciences live from their applied character, therefore the challenge for educators is to teach and transfer knowledge at weak lecturer to student ratios. As a way to cope with this situation, we created a project using a citizen science approach in an obligatory Bachelor course named Biology of Terrestrial Animals. The project called BOKUroadkill was conducted over three months and engaged students in reporting roadkilled animals during their daily routine. With a mobile app (EpiCollect) running on their private devices and a custom-programmed online reporting form over 100 students reported 1236 animals killed on roads. After data collection and analysis, students provided feedback on the project. Based on the students' feedback, we developed a new online platform where all citizens can participate ( Based on our experience with BOKUroadkill we conclude that a citizen science approach in higher education is very suitable for (i) addressing important elements of motivation for learners and (ii) familiarizing students with scientific research.


vehicle collissions, public participation, mobile learning

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